NEIGHBORS IN NORTHEAST PORTLAND are growing frustrated with a scrap salvage firm, calling itself All Service Towing, which has allegedly been parking dilapidated vehicles on their streets.
The problem, which centers on All Service Towing's grassy lot at 6034 NE Holladay, first started last July, says Bob Richardson, a software developer who lives around the corner.
On November 13, 2007, Richardson saw a middle-age man slipping a Slim Jim into the door of a white Saab 9000 with cracked headlights, which had been sitting on the northeast side of NE 60th at Hassalo since July.
"I asked him, 'What are you doing?'" says Richardson. "And he told me it was his 'fucking car' and he could do what he pleased with it."
Shortly afterward, the Saab showed up on the firm's nearby lot.
Another resident, Jason Evans, says he saw the same man using a Ford pickup and a length of chain to drag a green Chrysler LHS, its tires locked, toward the lot in mid November.
"It didn't exactly seem like a professional towing operation," says Evans. Then on January 21 of this year, Richardson called the city's abandoned vehicles line to complain about a blue Plymouth Voyager minivan with a flat tire, which had also been languishing in the street for several months. "So the city came out and put a three-day tow warning on the truck, and the next day, it disappeared from the street," says Richardson.
Shortly afterward, the truck reappeared on the lot, and it was still there last Friday, April 4, when the Mercury stopped by. Richardson has since tracked the movement of a dozen suspicious cars around the neighborhood.
"We're not elitists," says Richardson. "I've owned plenty of piece-of-shit cars, but when someone is operating a business and putting ugly damaged cars in front of other people's homes, it's different." It's unclear to neighbors whether the man owns the cars or why he doesn't simply park them on his lot to begin with. They describe the whole situation as "weird."
It's also a contravention of city code for a business involved in the sale or repair of vehicles to use city streets for parking instead of private lots, according to the city's abandoned vehicles towing coordinator, Michael Johnson. There's also a pending nuisance complaint about the property, but the city's listed enforcement officer for the complaint, Charles Myrick, did not return a call for comment by press time.
Meanwhile, complaints about the lot are impacting the business next door.
"People come in here getting right in my face saying I'd better get those cars out of here," says Denny Aldridge, who has run Aldridge Motorsports and Engineering next door to the lot for 22 years. "I'm getting blamed for this, when it's got nothing to do with me."
A man matching the description given by Richardson, who gave his name only as Charles, was working on the lot two weeks ago, on Monday, March 24.
"We're moving out," he told the Mercury. "There's going to be nothing here in a week. I think we're getting blamed for something that isn't even related," he said, referring to the cars parked around the neighborhood—which neighbors have photographed once they end up on his lot.
By more than a week later, on April 4, several cars in poor condition were still parked around the neighborhood, and the lot was still littered with cars and debris, although Charles was not around.